Worth Reading: Commodifying words

Worth Reading: Commodifying words

Words (and by extension their constituent letters) are as free to utter and use as is the air sustaining life. No one owns them. There is no toll fee to be paid to dictionary makers who curate them. There are, however, two carve-outs from this public domain, namely words and letters businesses use as designations of origin for their marketplace presence, protected by trademark law; and words and letters arranged expressively by authors, protected by copyright law. The rights accruing to persons under these carve-outs — trademark more ancient than copyright (circa 1610) — have their roots in statutory and common law. —CircleID